District Dispatch, Winter 2019

Download the PDF version of District Dispatch, including the Rajpur Report, here

President’s Greetings

We begin our Lenten observances next week on Ash Wednesday as we enter into our 40 days (46 including Sundays!) of reflection and spiritual preparation leading to the Cross and to the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ, on Easter Morning! Our annual spiritual rebirth is testament to our faith in the abiding and redemptive love of our God. As we journey on the path to Calvary let us keep our eyes and hearts on the transformation of anguish and grief into relief and joy! Blessings to each of you and to our faith communities as we continue to be agents of God’s transforming love in our world.


President’s Remarks

As many of our congregations have recently held their annual Church Council meeting, there have been changes to volunteer leaders in each of our congregations. To those who have served during this past year and to those who have recently accepted the responsibility to provide leadership to your church community, your District Executive Board salutes your past and future commitments! Many thanks to each of our Trustees, Elders and Joint Board members as they respond to so many tasks associated with your active congregation.

Over the past number of weeks our  office administrators along with your Pastor and Board, has gather all of the information for Annual Reports that are submitted to the Provincial Office in Bethlehem. These statistical documents help describe the work of our Province, three Districts, and the Provinces’s 90+ congregations.

I offer thanks for the service that Bryan Peacock has provided to our District over the past seven years; four as District President and these last three as a Board member. Bryan was one of the newly elected Board members at Rio Terrance and has submitted his resignation from your District Executive Board.  In his role as ‘past-president’ he provided continuity for current Board members as they transitioned into their roles. Bryan’s continued commitment and service to his Church is exemplary.

The topics contained in this newsletter provide but a glimpse into the love and care that is made evident to others in your communities through various activities provided by members of your congregation. Many thanks for being agents of God’s transformative love in your community.


Upcoming IPO Listening Meetings

In the spring, each congregation can expect a visit from BECD members to speak with them and listen to how we can help equip congregations to be agents of God’s transforming love in our world. These visits will start a multiyear effort to address a resolution from the 2018 Provincial Synod that directed the PEC  and  Districts to listen to congregations about their needs and how these needs might be reflected in the longstanding inquiry around Identity, Purpose, and Organization of the Moravian Church Northern Province.


Governance Task Force Update

The Moravian Book of Order guides the internal decision making of the Northern Province; however, when it comes to governing Canadian Moravian Church entities, the Book of Order is not the only authority. The laws of Canada that govern charities have requirements that must also be met. In the event the requirements are in conflict with the Book of Order, Canadian law must take precedence.

This legal advice was included in presentations made by the Calgary based consultants, Ideas Inc., to an all day February workshop in Red Deer attended by the Board of Elders of the Canadian District (BECD) and the  Canadian District Governance Task Force.

In Canada, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) grants “charitable status” to not-for-profit agencies. This status allows those entities to provide tax deduction receipts to donors. In order to maintain the privilege of issuing tax deductible receipts, charities  must  ensure  they  adhere  to  CRA  governance, reporting and operational requirements. A basic checklist includes:

  • Maintain the charity’s status as a legal entity;
  • Adhere strictly to its objects or purpose;
  • Only provide funds to other registered charities or qualified donees;
  • Maintain direction and control over all assets and activities no matter who carries them out;
  • Understand the requirements for undertaking charitable activities outside Canada;
  • Do not engage in partisan political activities or unrelated business activities;
  • Meet all deadlines for

The Governance Task Force has begun to address some of the consultant’s preliminary findings. Look in this newsletter for further interim reports in the months ahead. A final  report, including an accounting of steps taken, will be made to the Canadian District Synod in June of 2020.

Submitted by Bob Hawkesworth

A governance review was initiated by a resolution approved at the Canadian District Synod in 2016 and a Governance Task Force was formed in 2018. Task Force MembershipTask  is comprised of representatives from the different Moravian entities: Maxine Charlton (Canadian Moravian Foundation); Donna Gordon (Canadian Moravian Mission Society); Esther Vitt-Gonzalez (Canadian Moravian Historical Society); Bobbie O’Connor (Common Ground Community Café) and Lynne Hennig (Camp Van-Es). The Task Force is chaired by Greg Weir, BECD President. Bob Hawkesworth (BECD member) and Graham Kerslake are the two other members.



Presbyter Consecration: Congratulations to Pastor James Lavoy who has been affirmed by the PEC for consecration as a presbyter. The consecration will be facilitated by Bishop Blair Couch, and it will be held at Rio Terrace Church on Sunday, May 26 at 4 pm. A picnic in the park next to the church will follow.


Meet the District’s Newest Clergy

Pastor Aaron Linville: Millwoods Community Church welcomed Pastor, Aaron Linville in November 2018. Aaron was born into the Union Cross Moravian congregation just  outside of Winston-Salem, NC and grew up attending Union Cross and  summer  camp at Laurel Ridge. HIs  journey to  ordained  ministry  began  as  a  call  to  attend Moravian Theological Seminary. Before moving to Bethlehem, he attended Lees-McRae College, a small, liberal arts college in the mountains of North Carolina earning degrees in both History and Religious Studies. He spent the following few years working towards a Master of Divinity and graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary in May of 2013. He was married to Amy, after dating for 5 years, that fall. Shortly after, he began working at New Philadelphia Moravian Church as their Pastoral Intern. He also enjoyed volunteering with the Anthony’s Plot community as they served their neighbourhood and the homeless community in Winston-Salem. He began serving as pastor to Rural Hall Moravian on November 2, 2014. Amy and Aaron are the happy parents of two cats, Erdmuthe and Komensky, and one dog, Goose (feel free to ask Aaron or Amy about their names). Amy recently graduated with her Master of Library and Information Sciences, and enjoys crocheting and all things that deal with words and books. Aaron  enjoys vegetable gardening and recently picked up wood turning as a hobby.

Pastor Trina Holmberg: Pastor Trina Holmberg is providing part time clergy leadership to Edmonton Moravian Church while Pastor Rebecca Craver is on maternity leave. Alberta and British Columbia have been Trina’s home for most of her life. From  a young age, she loved going to Sunday school and reading scripture in church where people would say that she should become a preacher. Trina began attending the Moravian church shortly before her daughter Patricia was born in 1987. During her time as a member at Bruderheim Moravian Church, she operated a day home. In1989 she became the librarian for the K-9 school in Bruderheim and in 1997 return to university to finish a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Trina graduated in 2000 and began working as a Psychological Assistant for Bosco Homes Society. Trina met her husband, Ken in 2002, and in 2004, she quit her job to begin seminary in Edmonton. Deciding to stay Moravian, Trina then ventured to Bethlehem, PA to finish seminary. Trina and Ken left three daughters and five grandchildren behind in Canada. Since then they have added three more grandchildren. Trina’s first call was to Michigan in 2009 where she looked forward to a long pastorate. But God had other ideas after Ken and Trina went to Nepal in 2011 for a month and fell in love with the place and the people. In 2014 they set off for Katmandu, Nepal to part of the growing Moravian church and preschool there. While there, they experienced joy and learned how earthquakes can change ones plans. God also taught them about the Ministry of Presence, how being willing to “stick it out” gives others the courage to stick around and help. After ten great months in Nepal, Trina and Ken moved back to the US and waited for another call. An appointment to Redeemer in Dublin, OH came up and they began a new phase of ministry. While there they were able to go back to Nepal twice. Trina also spent a month working in Labrador and felt privileged to attend the Unity Mission Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Eventually Ken and Trina came to the decision that it was time to return home to Alberta. She feels blessed to be here and looks forward to her interim service at Edmonton Moravian Church.



Moravian Day of Service

The date for the first Moravian Day of Service authorized at the 2018 Synod has been set for Sunday, September 15, 2019, or whenever a day of service is convenient for a local congregation. Further information and direction will be forthcoming from Rev. Chris Giesler, Director of Mission Engagement, for the BWM. Congregations, individually or in collaboration with other churches in their area, are encouraged to begin making plans for how they want to participate in being of service to their community on or around September  15. The Moravian Day of Service will be an annual event held on the Saturday and/or Sunday nearest September 15.


Annual Global Mission Sunday

Congregations are strongly encouraged to designate a Sunday to focus on opportunities to be involved in global mission endeavours. The PEC will work with the BWM to provide resources.


BWM Internship

The Board of World Mission (BWM) is seeking an intern for 10-12 weeks in the summer of 2019. The internship will be an opportunity to engage fully in the ongoing work of the BWM and will take on a key role in helping to manage its Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) initiatives. The BWM values the internship as a mentoring opportunity as well as a leadership and skill development tool. It will be structured to help guide the individual in the position to feel equipped for further leadership and involvement in Moravian Mission and beyond. This is a full time, paid internship position with allocated travel budget. The intern will be able to work remotely, but must also be available to travel as needed. Applications will be received through Monday, March 11, 2019 with a decision made by the beginning of April. If interested, please contact your pastor or the District Office for more information.



Historical Society AGM

April 27, 12:30 pm, Millwoods Church

The Board of the Historical Society is in need of additional directors so please prayerfully consider running for a position at the 2019 AGM which is to be held at Millwoods Community Church on April 27 at 12:30pm. This meeting will begin with a full lunch followed by a presentation  from Joel Henkelman on some of the more interesting aspects of the Moravian Roots Tour of historic sites in Europe that he participated in this past summer. Included will be the history and process used for the Moravian Daily Text, the Kalich Rocks (a secret worship site and refuge for non-Catholics during the reformation) and more. Tickets will be free for CMHS members and five dollars for nonmembers. The cost of your ticket can be applied to purchase an annual membership for the Historical Society.


Christ Moravian Church 50th Anniversary

Saturday, April 27, 2 pm – 6 pm

Come Celebrate 50 years of life and ministry at Christ Church with an  afternoon of  music, entertainment and speakers. This will be followed by a catered dinner. For tickets, please contact 403-271-2700 or [email protected].

Tickets: $25 Children under 16 are $10 quite


Sunday, April 28 10:30 am – 1:00pm

You are invited to attend a special 50th Anniversary Worship Service will take place on Sunday, April 28 at 10:30am and will be followed by a luncheon provided by Women’s Fellowship.


Mirth & Music for Mission Fundraiser

March 29, 7pm Christ Moravian Church, Calgary

Laugh and giggle and tap your toes with an evening of great entertainment. Enter to win Silent Auction items. Featuring the humour of comedian, Graham Clark, and the vocal stylings of Marty Antonini and Good Company. Graham Clark is a son of Christ Moravian Church and a well-known Canadian comedian whose work can be seen on the CBC productions of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and “The Debaters”. Marty Antonini is a popular local musician,  vocalist and actor who performs regularly at different venues around Calgary. All proceeds go to support the mission work of Christ Moravian Church. Tickets $25, call 403-271-2700 to order.


Winter Youth Retreat at Van-Es:

Friday, Mar 8, 7 PM – Sunday, Mar 10, 12 PM

The Moravian Church is partnering with some of our Anglican friends for a giant, winter youth retreat at Camp Van-Es! Do all of your favourite Camp things – but with snow! There will be some #CabinLife, swimming, camp-wide games, snowshoeing, and we’ll learn about quiet contemplative spiritual practices, which are ways that we can go deeper in our spirituality, using tools around us. This retreat is targeted for Junior and Senior High Students. The Registration fee of $100 covers lodging, food, and supplies. If you have questions or are struggling with the cost, please contact Pastor James Lavoy at [email protected] or (780) 487-0211.

Register at:


Spiritual Listener Retreat

March 8 & 9, 2019 at Camp Van Es

“Learning to be a Spiritual Listener” is a retreat being held at Van Es Camp and Conference Centre, facilitated by Rev. Richard Beck, pastor from Good Shepherd Moravian Church, and a spiritual director instructor with the FCJ Retreat Centre in Calgary. Located on a beautiful acreage with abundant walking trails for wildlife viewing, the program is designed to help people listen deeply, to  themselves and others, as they discern how God is moving in their midst. $75 includes program, meals, and lodging. To register or for more information, contact Alice Sears, [email protected].


Common Ground Community Café

2018 was full of excitement and transition for the Café. After six years, Pastors Ian and Eileen Edwards worked with the Board of Directors to transition away from the Common Ground ministry and towards other callings. With this change we restructured the café model to allow for an Executive Director supplemented by support for spiritual components from local Moravian clergy. Cheryl Tosczak joined our team in December as our new Executive Director, and brings a wealth of experience in retail management and team building. Additionally, we entered into a partnership with Christenson Development and will be relocating to a brand new storefront at the heart of Sherwood Park in Festival Place. The new space is set to open May 2019! We are working with an interior designer to dream how the new Café might honour its history and connection to the Moravian Church, and look forward to sharing this with you in the coming months. Thanks to everyone who has supported the Café through prayers and gifts through the years. We truly appreciate it.


Moravian Women’s Conference June 20 – 23, 2019

This conference to be held in Winston Salem, North Carolina offers an opportunity for Moravian women to learn, worship, sing and share ideas that strengthen faith and ties to the Moravian Church. Keynote speakers and workshop leaders will inform and challenge each participant to confidently live into the plan God has for her. Featuring best-selling author Rachel Held Evans, Bishop Kay Ward, the Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek and the Rev. Christie Melby- Gibbons. Questions? Call 336.893.4460 or email [email protected]. Register today at:



Canadian District Office:

600 Acadia Dr. SE, Calgary, AB, T2B 0J8 Phone 403-271-2700
Email: [email protected]

Board Members

President: Greg Weir
[email protected], 587-288-8727

Contact through District Office:

  • Rev. Matt Gillard, Heimtal
  • Donna Gordon, CMMS Chair, [email protected]
  • Bob Hawkesworth, Good Shepherd
  • Holly Heffernan, Christ Community Church
  • Rev. James Lavoy, Rio Terrace